Tuesday May 22, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of October 26, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

"Lil Wayne is still in prison at the time of writing. Before he went in, he recorded a few tracks for an interim album to be dropped on his birthday, and the result is the strangely enjoyable "I Am Not a Human Being." It is neither an album nor a mixtape: in fact, it isn't even like a "Lost Tapes." It is just a collection of original (legally, that is) songs, a few guest spots, and Wayne getting back to rapping after his largely unsuccessful "Rebirth" rock venture. It is one of the most mind-numbingly stupid rap albums in recent memory. It is also an awful lot of fun to listen to. This one can be marked as a "gift in kind" to Weezy's most devoted followers – they will love it, having been used to such a constant barrage of fresh/hijacked material from the Dreaded One. "

Canibus :: C of Tranquility :: iM Culture
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez
[C of Tranquility] 
"Canibus is an emcee that shows no quit. Perhaps the biggest mainstream "bust" in rap history, Canibus has remained resilient despite constant criticism and scrutiny. Those that label Canibus a bust are missing what a success the man has become. Despite being written off after debut and sophomore albums that failed to meet the unrealistic expectations that were placed on them, Canibus has managed to stretch his career over three decades and remains relevant and respected as an emcee. "C of Tranquility" serves as a testament to Canibus' lyrical prowess as it boasts the most impressive production line up his career. With beats from Scram Jones, DR Period, Jake One, J-Zone, Domingo, and DJ Premier, Canibus sets out to silence his critics once and for all. "C of Tranquility" is a solid album from a veteran in the rap game who seems to finally be at peace with his place in the game. "


Don Cash :: Unbreakable :: Bandcamp/URBNET Records
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania
"Hailing from Canada, Don Cash is, without doubt, the strangest, most beguiling and utterly intriguing rapper I've caught wind of in a long time. His story is part hipster poster boy, part Jay Electronica, part hustler (even anti-hustler). This mixtape sounds like a complete load of bullshit for the first couple of spins, and then you can't wait to listen to it again. Cloaked in the night, sounding messy, cheap and random, "Unbreakable" has utterly achieved its objective insofar as taking someone entirely uninitiated (that would be me) and making me want to listen to Don Cash's back catalogue and, in particular, most recent album (called “Freshy Fresh” – expect a review very soon). He raps, sings, produces and has one of the coolest natural rap voices of the past few years. It does indeed take a couple of spins to adjust to his seemingly off-kilter flow, but persevere, dear Reader."


Double Vision :: Bifocal :: No Sleep Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Move over Twin Hype, hip-hop's got a brand new genetically identical duo, and judging by their opening track they're ready to D-I-E. Double Vision's rappers go by the names Mackamillion and Mr. Mackmore, but in real life they're twin brothers Jonathan and Jarred Lindsay. From their group name to their album title, they're working with double entendre, as the cover of "Bifocal" features both rappers rocking specs. You may think you're seeing double when you see them, but odds are they'll be seeing double if they look at you without them. Is this overkill in selling the gimmick for this rap group? It would be if their publicity department sent a pair of glasses in the package. I'm not kidding though - that actually happened recently. A label sent me a pair of 3D glasses to "enhance the experience" of watching their artist's music video online. My prescription is not bifocal, but it IS real, and the idea of rocking a pair of glasses OVER my glasses has always been ass."


Gucci Mane :: The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted :: Asylum/Warner Bros. Records
as reviewed by Joe Howard
[The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted] 
"I'm not going to waste any time providing background information on Radric "Gucci Mane" Davis. The majority of people reading this review are already familiar with Gucci Mane's music, and fully aware of what to expect at this point. With three major label albums to date (including this one), and four independent albums as well, Gucci Mane has a fairly extensive discography considering he debuted professionally in 2005. After being charged with murder in 2005, having those charges dropped not long afterwards, and rising to the upper echelon of the rap industry, it would be somewhat fair to consider Gucci Mane's arc somewhat of a "success story". Maybe even a "feel good story". I'm happy for the guy, he's never done anything to offend me personally, so yeah, I guess you can say that I derive some slight measure of satisfaction from his accomplishments, because I'm fully aware of the feeling of trying to succeed in the music world. God bless him. "


Bruce Haack :: Farad: The Electric Voice :: Stones Throw Records
as reviewed by Joe Howard
[Farad: The Electric Voice] 
"I have never been, nor am I currently the type of person to describe music as being "my life". Despite the fact that music pretty much is my life, I've always felt that articulating that statement out loud would be an insult to all the other things from which I derive pleasure in this world. My friends, my family, my pets, and the places I've been during the happiest moments of my life have always made for some of the most vital components of who I am, or think I am. However, when I reflect on the most memorable and enjoyable days and nights, the first thing that comes to mind are the albums and songs that I was enjoying at the time. When I think of "Go" by Common, I remember of a cute young lady from the summer of 2005. Whenever I make my way up to Stratford, Connecticut, and enjoy the summer breeze on a park bench on Burbank Avenue, I think of "Uplifter" by 311, "Razorblade Salvation" by Jedi Mind Tricks, or "Starry Eyed Surprise" by Paul Oakenfold."


He.llsent :: False Profit :: Galapagos4
as reviewed by Susan 'susiQ' Kim

[False Profit] 
"Chicago's He.llsent is yet another emcee than has been churned out by the infamous Galapagos4 label, but is a veteran emcee with extensive years behind the mic. Early on, his passion for emceeing flourished as he was fortunate to team up with Qwazaar of Typical Cats, even before Typical Cats had released their debut EP. The duo formed the group Outerlimitz and with their fervor for political rights, they released their debut album, "Wrong Actions for Right Reasons." In subsequent years, the duo unleashed two more albums while pursuing other projects of their own. He.llsent has since then engaged in his own endeavors and debuted a solo album, "Rainwater" in 2006. In his second solo album, "False Profit," he stays committed to an explorative journey of contemplative thought and realization as he delves deep into his inner thoughts about society and the direction of hip hop. For He.llsent, it's all about what hip hop once used be. "


Lord Infamous :: Futuristic Rowdy Bounty Hunter :: Black Rain Entertainment
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Futuristic Rowdy Bounty Hunter] 
"In June of 2010 the word went out to RapReviews and scores of other hip-hop sites that Lord Infamous suffered a heart attack AND kidney failure. With such a deadly double dose of medical maladies to deal with, it was entirely understandable that his PR people wanted us to all know "Futuristic Rowdy Bounty Hunter" would be pushed back and there was no longer a definitive release date. The health and well-being of one of the founding members of Three 6 Mafia was (and still is) far more important than any new songs or a brand new album. Since "Bounty Hunter" landed on my desk this week I have to assume his health improved enough in the interim to either finish the CD or master the already available material and put it out to the public. That's no indication of whether he would (or even should) tour to support the release, but one can at least hope that it's a sign of things improving - or at the very least one of those cases where the phrase "no news is good news" rings true. "


Madlib :: Madlib Medicine Show #8: Advanced Jazz :: Stones Throw Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[Madlib Medicine Show #8: Advanced Jazz] 
"A friend of mine recently asked me to recommend some sixties jazz to her. It was a daunting question. Where do you start? There are so many great jazz records from that period, it's hard to pin down just a handful to begin with. You need some John Coltrane, some Miles Davis, some Ornette Coleman, some Mingus, a little Herbie Hancock for good measure, and maybe some Pharaoh Sanders and Sun Ra to round things out. What my friend should do is pick up Madlib's newest mix CD, titled "Advanced Jazz." As with all of the even-numbered volumes of Madlib's Medicine Show, it is a trip through his vinyl collection curated, by the beat konducta himself.  The song titles tell you all you need to know: "Miles," "Ornette," "Pharaoh," "Herbie," "Mingus," "Ra," "Dolphy," "Ranelin,"" Deodato," "Coltrane." All are well-respected jazz musicians who made important records in the sixties and seventies. As the title suggests, the disc is a master's class in jazz."


Maestro Fresh-Wes :: Symphony in Effect :: LeFrak-Moelis Records/Attic Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Matt Jost

[Symphony in Effect] 
"In retrospect it feels like Maestro Fresh-Wes was exactly the right rapper to put Canadian hip-hop on the map. Here was a full grown MC staking his claim with ardor, as competent as he was confident, equipped with not just attitude but actual authority. Someone who took this thing seriously and could in turn be taken seriously. As he declared on his breakout hit: "This ain't a game, I'm on a mission." Born to Guyanese parents in 1968 in Toronto, Wesley Williams caught the rap bug when the genre's first hits spread across the globe. The teenaged fan made his stage and radio debut as early as 1983 when he performed at a festival sponsored by Ryerson campus/community station CKLN (which broadcast the influential Fantastic Voyage show hosted by Ron Nelson). Initially calling himself Melody MC as one half of the Vision Crew, who opened up for Public Enemy, Ice-T and the Beastie Boys, by 1988 he had changed his nom de plume to Maestro Fresh-Wes."


Moka Only :: Airport 4 :: Legendary Entertainment
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez

[Airport 4] 
"Despite trying my best to decipher the purpose of Moka Only's Airport series, I came up empty. Moka Only is equal parts prolific and equal parts mysterious. Airport is just one of the many series Moka has created over the years. The album boasts some vague references to airports and flyings, but that is far from the running theme. Like most of his albums, the only clear intent expressed by Moka is to make dope hip-hop. To that extent, he has been extremely successful and "Airport 4" is no different. Rather than take the literal approach and tell you how dope his hip-hop is, Moka lets the music stand on its own. It leaves the album open to some vagueness, but overall "Airport 4" just adds to Moka Only's already impressive catalog. Moka Only delivers another album worth of dope production throughout. There really isn't one subpar beat on the 18 songs found here. The intro kicks things off with a majestic horn, cascading bass line, and sweet soulful vocals."


The Trillionaires :: By Hook or By Crook :: URBNET Records
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez

[By Hook or By Crook] 
"Concept albums present difficult challenges. Not only do concept albums need to be thematically cohesive, the emcees are also asked to do something few emcees do well – act. The pressure of assuming a role for an entire album is something most emcees do not take well. Metty the Dertmerchant and Evil Ebenezer look to change that with "By Hook or By Crook." Representing Sweatshop Union and with the help of an impressive guest list, the duo sets out to give us a "tongue and cheek commentary on the greed and ruthlessness of modern society." While one could reasonably expect a CD full of swagger and ballin' spoofs, Metty and Ebenezer instead give us a balanced, if somewhat inconsistent, take on social commentary. The intro "Recession Proof" mixes a mellow singing with money-oriented vocal samples and sets the tone nicely for the rest of the CD. "By Hook or By Crook" finds Evil Ebenezer doing his best to emulate the money focused, criminal minded lifestyle"

Vado :: Slime Flu :: E1 Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Slime Flu] 
"Up-and-coming Harlem rapper Vado's name appears to be short for Movado, judging by the opening "Council Music" track from his album "Slime Flu." It's likely the manufacturer of expensive Swiss wristwatches wasn't going to sign off on him using their name for his rap career, so he chopped a syllable off the front and gained a more interesting name in the process. Let's look at OHHLA.com for a moment - only 17 rappers or groups in hip-hop history who had a name starting with V are archived. We can thus be thankful he didn't choose to be "Big Vado" or "Young Vado" and ruin the uniqueness of his handle. Furthermore it's actually easier to picture Vado battling all 17 V's to claim that number one spot. He could probably crush Vanilla Ice and Violent J, but Vast Aire and Vinnie Paz would be tough competition. That's a good transition point to get into the content of "Slime Flu" and move beyond his unique name. "


Watchmen :: Wu-Tang Management Presents: Watchmen :: Platinum City Entertainment
as reviewed by Mike Baber

[Wu-Tang Management Presents: Watchmen]

"In 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan took the rap game by storm with "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)," as the supergroup of emcees brought a raw and gritty style to the East Coast hip-hop scene that was sorely lacking any hardcore influence until then. 17 years later, the Watchmen are trying to revive the rough and tough style that Wu-Tang embodied by going all out with a 36 track double LP. Hailing from Florida, the five-man group – consisting of BlackMask, The Cipher, PRO, 7th 7ign, and Prox – blends the old school Wu-Tang style with a more polished new school sound that resonates throughout the album. The Wu-Tang Clan influences are present from the very beginning of the LP, as the intro track is a dialogue sampled from a kung-fu movie that begins with "So you are the new student." The first real track, "Assassins," features longtime Wu-Tang affiliate Cappadonna as well as another kung-fu sample and an eerie, high-pitched synth that sounds like something RZA would have used on "Wu-Tang Forever.""

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